Special agents with the FBI arrested a 22-year-old Hollywood man Thursday on a federal charge alleging he recklessly operated a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter.
Andrew Rene Hernandez was arrested on a misdemeanor count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, in what's believed to be the first criminal case in the nation on that allegation, Fox reports.
According to the complaint, LAPD officers were dispatched on a burglary call at a pharmacy in Hollywood during the early morning hours of Sept. 18 and requested air support. As an LAPD helicopter approached the pharmacy, the pilot saw the drone and attempted to evade the unmanned aircraft.
Despite the evasive efforts, the drone struck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to initiate an emergency landing. The drone damaged the helicopter's nose, antenna and bottom cowlings, according to court papers, which state that "if the drone had struck the helicopter's main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down."
Authorities do not believe Hernandez intentionally rammed the LAPD chopper.